From developed to developing countries, the rate of increase in unemployment is alarming. According to International Labour Organisation, by 2019, more than 212 million people will be without employment. In Nigeria, the unemployment rate jumped to 7.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to 6.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Discussions and efforts are on-going across Nigeria and the rest of the world on how best to reduce the trend through entrepreneurship development. Here are key strategies for disrupting unemployment in today’s competitive job environment and the creation of sustainable entrepreneurship growth.
Private sector entrepreneurs-educational institutions partnership
Collaboration between organised private sectors entrepreneurs and academic institutions in terms of entrepreneurial curriculum development and teaching remains crucial to the generation of new entrepreneurs. When contacted and partnered with, established entrepreneurs would complement universities and colleges’ teaching efforts through practical workshops and seminars. The collaboration would definitely leads to communication of practical benefits of various entrepreneurial concepts learnt in academic environment. According to a recent study, instruction and experiential learning, action-oriented, mentoring and group project approach are necessary for effective entrepreneurship education. Beyond this, cordial relationship should always exist between entrepreneurs, academic institutions’ leaders and lecturers to rigorously train students on the fast-changing realities and practice of commercial and social entrepreneurship. This will help in aligning institutions’ curricula to the needs of employers and preparing the students to be self-employed after graduation.
Creating Networking Platforms
There are numerous benefits in having existing start-ups and unemployed in a coordinated interactive network platform. In advanced countries such as UK and US, this strategy has helped in creating a number of new entrepreneurs through the efforts of government agencies saddled with the responsibility of incubating small businesses and supporting existing ones through advisory services. Non-governmental organisations are not left out too. When adopted in developing countries like Nigeria, it will foster collaboration and innovation between established entrepreneurs and aspiring ones because it will encourage exchange of ideas.
Recognition of Existing Entrepreneurs
There is a need to encourage, motivate and inspire existing entrepreneurs through various incentives such as tax holidays and capacity building programmes along the value chain, and meet up with global business practices. They can also be encouraged through award schemes.
Provision of soft and technical skills
In today’s competitive business environment, business activities need to be carried out through soft and technical skills. As business problems keep increasing daily, employers need employees that could use the two skills effectively in conjunction with good corporate values and effective operations for maximum output. Interpersonal, communication, teamwork and problem solving are examples of soft skills while technical ones stem from technical knowledge needed for tasks execution. These are essential for the creation of entrepreneurs who would eventually disrupt unemployment in developing countries. The two skills will help aspiring entrepreneurs in dealing with customers effectively and having a positive flexible attitude towards the growth of their businesses. Caroline Smith, member of Mindtool Team says “while your technical skills may get your foot in the door, your people (soft) skills are what open most of the doors to come. Your work ethic, your attitude, your communication skills, your emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills that are crucial for career success.”
Government Intervention and support
Government can create a viable and attractive environment for new businesses and idea generation to thrive. An example is the government-backed national enterprise campaign in the UK “StartUp Britain” that generate 581,000 new businesses in 2014 and expected to generate additional 600,000 in 2015. Nigeria through the ministry of finance “youwin” was launched by the past government, what remains to be verified is the measurable impact it has on entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
Dangote as a Case
Academy of Learning and Development, an initiative of Dangote Group of Companies, is one of the entrepreneurs-educational institution partnership strategy, which provides unique opportunities to polytechnic graduates, graduate engineers and management trainees of educational institutions in Nigeria to acquire sound industry and management skills. This initiative is being implemented in collaboration with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), which was established by the federal government. The Academy focuses on four core skill areas: mechanical, electrical, instrumentation/automation and chemical engineering. Though, the project is specifically developed to build technical skills of the participants, it is a right step towards strategic overhauling of unemployment problem in the country.